Robert M. Moran Professor of EngineeringChina
Ahsan Kareem recently received an honorary appointment at Tsinghua University in China. He has received several honorary professorships at several other major Chinese Universities and was among the inaugural High-End Expert to Tongji University in China.
“Since my first visit to China in 1984, I have been invited to China four or five times a year in the last few decades,” says Kareem. “My collaborations with leading Chinese researchers and exchange of scholars have led to advances in our mutual research and to my appointment as an Honorary Professor at Chinese top tier universities."
In 2020, he was appointed as the Qiushi chair professor at Zhejiang University.
“Qiushi means “seeking the truth,” which in 1938 became the University’s motto, inspiring generations of students,” he adds.
Learn more about his work in the College of Engineering.
IIaria Schnyder Von Wartensee
Ford Family Research Assistant Professor, Kellogg InstituteRome
Ilaria Schnyder Von Wartensee is a research assistant professor with the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Since 2017, she has been working on a five-year Humanitarian Corridor Research Project sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and the Ford Program in Human Development. The research focuses on one particular corridor, extending from Ethiopia to Italy. In January of 2017, the Italian Bishops’ Conference and three NGOs, Caritas Italy, Migrantes, and Sant’Egidio, signed an agreement with the Italian government to introduce a safe passage for 500 Eritreans, South Sudanese and Somalis (Christians and Muslims) to resettle from Ethiopian refugee camps to communities in Italy.
Schnyder’s research will analyze and evaluate the integration experience of the 500 refugees into Italian society over a period of five years.
“Our research will shed light on the wider context of the role of religion, faith and dignity in one of the most pressing political and social challenges of our times, namely international migration,” comments Schnyder.
“The role of accompaniment, the reality of encounter between refugees and their Catholic hosts, and the general cultural context, is of special interest to us.”
Since November of 2017, approximately 150 refugees arrived to Italian shores in separate flights. Schnyder, together with Caritas and Sant’Egidio volunteers, is accompanying them from Ethiopia to Italy, meeting them in the refugee camps, and witnessing their pre-departure cultural orientation. Upon arrival to Italy, refugees are located and welcomed into local communities, families, churches, schools, and dioceses. Schnyder, as part of her research, will follow them during their integration period, through a variety of narratives and daily experiences of both beneficiaries and communities in different geographical contexts.
Schnyder says this is something possible only in small municipalities or towns, whereas bigger cities, such as Rome, are more likely to be distant although more welcoming to refugees. The project is taking her all over Italy to meet the communities and interview the people involved.
Assistant Professor, Computer Science and EngineeringChile
Adam Czajka, assistant professor in the department of computer science and engineering, focuses his research on biometrics and security. Czajka recently collaborated with Professor Domingo Mery of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC) to find methods to detect unknown objects used to falsify biometric recognition.
Attackers can use devices such as cosmetic contact lenses or paper printouts for false iris recognition when impersonating an individual or concealing one’s identity. While successful algorithms exist to identify these known types of objects used in an attack, the issue of recognizing unknown objects remains unsolved. Czajka has spent 15 years researching and creating solutions for this problem. Iris recognition is a key identifier in important places with high security needs, which only increases its appeal to potential attackers.
“If you have something that is accurate and fast, then, of course, it is exposed more to attacks,” Czajka says.
His partnership with Mery was made possible through the Luksic Family Collaboration Grant, which seeks to encourage collaborations between Notre Dame faculty and colleagues from PUC.
Through this collaboration, Czajka and Mery were able to create an algorithm that can effectively adapt to unknown false iris images, and they plan to continue their work together.
As for the greater Notre Dame community, Czajka sees the importance of bringing awareness to the availability of international partnerships.
”I’m not sure how many people at Notre Dame are aware that they can ask not only for money, but to facilitate this kind of collaboration,” he says.